Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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Scientific polls and unscientific surveys make democracy seem so simple. All politicians have to do, it seems, is follow the results. For instance, look at the unscientific surveys House and Senate public information offices conducted at the Minnesota State Fair. The questions produced answers, but the questions were so simple that some answers may have little meaning. One Senate question was: "Would you support state funding to offer full-day/every-day kindergarten?" That's a no-brainer, 60 percent of the respondents decided when they said they liked the concept.
ST. PAUL -- Two Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party races highlight Tuesday's primary election after a mostly quiet campaign season. Major candidates in most races have ignored the primary, instead looking ahead to the Nov. 7 general election. While most statewide races are on the ballot, many names are unknown to voters because candidates did little to campaign. One exception is the DFL governor's race, where well-liked Sen. Becky Lourey is challenging well-financed Attorney General Mike Hatch. The other major race is for the DFL's attorney general nomination, where Rep. Matt Entenza of St.
ST. PAUL -- Fifty-one Minnesota counties are agriculture disaster areas and farmers affected by the summer drought are eligible for low-interest loans. "This declaration will help ensure the future of crop and animal agriculture," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the disaster declaration. The declaration follows a Tuesday plea by Pawlenty and other Midwestern governors for Congress to provide more disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers.
Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar are rushing toward the political center on Minnesota's geographic fringes. In the U.S. Senate race, Klobuchar accuses Kennedy of running away from President Bush, after the congressman appeared with Bush in commercials his last two elections. If Kennedy is trying to look like a political moderate, Klobuchar is doing the same. Both know they cannot win the Nov.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Dean Barkley walked down the sidewalk, examining political booths at the Minnesota State Fair. With a stogy cigar sticking out of his mouth, Barkley proclaimed the fair "critical" for third-party political candidates' chances. Barkley should know. He was one of the masterminds behind Jesse Ventura's shocking election victory eight years ago.
Minnesota's top election races are for U.S. Senate and governor -- or at least that is the conventional wisdom. However, cumulative state and federal legislative races actually may have a greater impact on Minnesotans' lives. No one state legislator or member of Congress makes a huge difference in everyday life, but what party holds legislative power is as important as anything in government. And Democrats at both levels of government make the case they will take that control in the Nov.
ST. PAUL -- Gasoline prices and the Iraq war are the hottest issues in Minnesota's hottest campaign. "Nothing could threaten jobs quicker" than continually rising gasoline prices, said U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate. Democrat Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County attorney, said as she travels the state, she hears increasing concerns about the war. While rhetoric spewing from the campaigns already is as hot as it usually gets in the waning days of an election, the public is not tuned. "It's still August," said Klobuchar, who Democrats endorsed in June.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.